These week 11 fantasy football defenses will guide your team to the top of the leaderboard!
The Arizona and Philadelphia defenses in Week 10 represented veritable case studies in what we look for in fantasy football defensive targets.
Both the Cardinals and the Eagles, highlighted in this space as Week 10 cash game plays, were taking on struggling offenses with inaccurate signal callers who would likely have to throw the ball quite a bit into the teeth of solid defenses.
While the Eagles put on a show of total and complete domination — including a punt return score — the Cardinals didn’t cash in on the prime matchup until the last few minutes of the fourth quarter, when the Rams were finally forced to the air with no threat of running the rock. Philly and Arizona ended the week as fantasy’s top two defensive options.
Our Week 10 tourney plays, Atlanta and Baltimore, fared just fine. The Falcons’ rock-bottom price allowed us to stock up on top-end players at other positions — a luxury in a week that saw a handful of stars put up otherworldly numbers.
Let’s move on to Week 11’s best cash game and tournament plays, once again using defensive Streaming Scores to identify the juiciest matchups.
A team’s Streaming Score doesn’t incorporate how stifling or generous a certain defense has been. It’s entirely matchup based.
Week 11 Fantasy Football Defenses for Cash Games
Detroit Lions ($5,000) vs. Arizona Cardinals
I don’t see any safer defensive play this week than the Lions’ dominant unit taking on a Carson Palmer-less Cardinals’ offense. Perhaps I’m more skeptical of Drew Stanton than most, but I expect Arizona’s offense to be a wasteland at best and an utter disaster at worst.
Detroit’s defense, amazingly, is the 15th priciest option for Week 11. I wouldn’t begrudge daily gamers for deploying the Lions in every type of game this week. They sport the NFL’s fourth best pass rush, third best run defense, and 10th best coverage unit, per Pro Football Focus. Stanton has a sub-55 percent completion percentage in 2014 and will be forced to throw and throw often as Detroit’s vicious front seven shuts down Andre Ellington.
It doesn’t matter that Detroit is on the road — deploy the Lions and don’t look back.
Week 11 Fantasy Football Defenses for Tournaments
Denver Broncos ($6,850) at St. Louis Rams
It’s not often that I’ll recommend paying a premium for a road defense, but the Broncos in Week 11 are certainly the well-reasoned exception to the rule. Defensive Streaming Scores weigh home field advantage pretty heavily — since home field has proven to be a key factor in notching top-12 defensive numbers — but even without that advantage, Denver has the week’s second highest score.
The Rams are the league’s third-worst pass blocking team. They go up against a swarming Broncos front seven that has nine sacks over their past three games, to go along with seven turnovers. There’s no possibility that St. Louis will be able to run a balanced offensive attack, forcing Shaun Hill to the air — a decidedly good thing for anyone who pays the price for DraftDay’s third priciest defensive option.
Chicago Bears ($3,800) vs. Minnesota Vikings
Probably I should lose my fantasy sports writing card for merely suggesting that Chicago’s defense could be a viable play after two of the most hilariously awful performances in recent memory. But here I am, pushing the Bears’ defense against a lifeless Vikings’ offense.
Minnesota is among the league’s worst, least threatening offenses by almost any measure. Only five teams average fewer total offensive yards than the Vikings. They’re 31st in yards per offensive play. The Vikes are one of five teams that average less than two touchdowns per contest. They score an incredibly low .29 points per play — the same as the hapless and hopeless Titans.
I’m well aware that the Bears have been roasted by some of the game’s best quarterbacks and their ridiculously efficient passing attacks. They’re at home this week, desperate for a win, facing off against an objectively terrible Minnesota offense that has a bottom-5 pass blocking unit, per PFF.
The Bears’ defense, the seventh cheapest Week 11 option, make a sensible tournament play. They have a low floor — no one would disagree — but their ceiling and price are just what we’re looking for.